After its participation at the CES trade show in Las Vegas where it won an award for its 3S Homecare app making it possible to better organise home support for elderly people, the start-up from Tournai also took part in the Mission led by Princess Astrid in Morocco last December. Interview with its founder, Dominique Duhayon.

Intersysto, a start-up recently affiliated to Agoria, has been developing management software for rest homes since 2006. After its participation, with Agoria and the Healthcare Technology Club, in an economic mission to Morocco we wanted to meet Intersysto.

Intersysto's solution is already present in 150 institutions – which represents approximately 14,000 rooms – primarily in Belgium and in France. It makes it possible for the manager of a rest home to have a comprehensive view of what is going on in his or her institution at any time.

"A rest home with a 100 beds means about 80 full-time equivalents," explains Dominique Duhayon. "Managing such an undertaking requires highly effective management and control tools."

The software developed by Intersysto is a care traceability and management tool at one and the same time. It makes it possible to address the problems of inspections, for example, since "who did what, at what time and for which patient" is systematically recorded through a tactile screen installed in each room and connected to the rest home's care delivery software.

Hospital at home or "virtual" hospital

In recent years, Intersysto had been under exclusive contract with Honeywell, which enabled the start-up to distribute its software in other regions of the world. "But our aim is not to be an SME and a solution like ours needs to constantly adapt, to be agile ... For the 3 years that the contract lasted, the pace of innovation on this product was sluggish. "Having said that, I am not at all being ungrateful; the collaboration was very interesting," Dominique makes it clear. "All the more so since this period enabled us to develop a second solution alongside, 3S Homecare, which is actually the continuity of what is happening in the rest home or hospital."

"Even if the focus was on building rest homes every single day, the ageing curve is such that there will never be enough places for everyone."

Dominique Duhayon is persuaded of this: "offering people the possibility of staying at home in the best possible conditions of wellbeing and security is not only a financial and demographical necessity, but also increasingly responds to the wishes of families." That is where digital solutions come in.

There are currently almost 30,000 e-health apps ... but none of them talk to each other! 

Another finding. When an elderly or convalescing person is at home, there is little communication or none at all between the various people involved: home help, nurse, physiotherapist, etc. and, of course, the actual person and his or her family and relatives. Each of them has an understanding and information about the patient's condition which may be important for the others. The idea is to have a cross-sectional view and to share the information. There are a multitude of apps that do a multitude of things, but home support can be provided only if there is coordination and a comprehensive view.

The objective is to coordinate what is going on at home

Let us take the example of Jean, an eighty-year-old suffering from chronic pulmonary disease. One morning, his daughter pays him a visit and finds him weak. On the same day, the meal deliverer notices that he has not touched his food. A little later in the day, the home help notes that his speech is incoherent. If each of them records this information separately, that is not much use. If, on the contrary, all these converging observations are shared, then that can act as an alert and actions may be taken to avoid Jean's condition from getting worse and lead to emergency admission to a hospital.

Since this coordination task is the responsibility of mutual insurance companies, hospitals or medical centres, Intersysto proposes its solution to them, and not directly to the end user. Intersysto is already working with the three Belgian mutual insurance companies and has just signed a contract to equip 40,000 people in Wallonia. That is going to make it possible to reach the necessary volume to show the worth of this e-health app and to achieve the goal of ensuring that it can integrate the official healthcare and disability payment refund process.

In actual fact, since October 2018, developers have been able to arrange to have their e-health applications registered with Mobile Health Belgium, an initiative by the Minister, Mrs De Block, supported by the National Institute of Health and Invalidity Insurance (INAMI), the FPS Public Health, the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AFMPS), the eHealth platform and the sector federations, Agoria and beMedTech. These applications are then assessed to determine whether they meet the required conditions from a quality, safety and effectiveness point of view. This process is therefore currently in progress for the Intersysto application. 

As a real-time information exchange platform, 3S Homecare does not aim to replace the trade software programs of the different stakeholders but operates rather as a 'hub' that provides a connection between them. It is therefore connected to the coordination centre (mutual insurance company or medical centre), to the hospital, to the remote monitoring centre, etc. and the general practitioner also has access to it through the health network. We could even imagine connecting it to other e-health apps since the patient's interest is the main priority and the aim is for it to operate within the health ecosystem and make it possible to integrate the different information sources and the different stakeholders to the farthest possible extent.

Belgium, a wonderful playground for e-health apps

At the heart of this ecosystem, there are the health networks (Walloon Health Network in Wallonia or Abrumet in Brussels) that collect and ensure the secure sharing of everyone's health data (results of examinations, medical reports, correspondence, etc.) between the various care providers. Without this network and for Health concepts, an application such as 3S Homecare would be substantially more complicated to implement.  

"The application is perfectly functional from a technological viewpoint," explains Dominique Duhayon. "It development required an extremely agile working method, we worked with very short iterations and in close cooperation with health partners. By contrast, establishing the many contacts necessary for implementing it and coordinating the project with all the stakeholders, such as the mutual insurance companies, Ministry of Health, health networks, etc. is a lengthy process. If we succeed in deploying it in a country as complex as Belgium, we will succeed everywhere else!"

A few success stories: